Are You Finally Ready To Open Your Shelter For Survivors Of Abuse? 4 Bed Bug Control Tips For Emergency Housing
You've worked hard to put together a program that helps survivors of abuse find a safe place to live while they get on their feet, and you can't wait to finally see the fruits of your labor make other people's lives better. However, you may still have a few concerns about pest management, since bed bugs thrive in spaces where people from different environments are put into close proximity. As you put the sheets upon the beds and prepare to open the doors up to the public, use these tips to keep bed bug infestations down in your new housing facility.
Train the Staff
One of the first steps toward bed bug prevention is to foster an environment that promotes honesty and awareness about the problem. Begin by training your staff on how to look for signs of bed bugs. For example, they may notice bites on a survivor's arms that fall into a pattern of three or more red marks in a row. Alternatively, they may notice black specks on sheets or clothing on laundry day. Make sure that each volunteer and employee knows to alert you at the first sign of a problem so that you can arrange for bed bug extermination services.
When new residents come to your shelter, provide a brief educational session about bed bugs, and ask if they have ever been exposed. While you should never let a current bed bug problem stop the person from being allowed to stay, knowing that there is a current infestation allows you to help them take the right steps toward eliminating the problem at move-in.
Choose the Right Furnishings
Donations are always helpful when you run a charitable organization. However, discarded furniture and clothing are sometimes infested with bed bugs. Encourage the staff and residents to use caution when bringing used items into the facility. Ideally, they should be carefully inspected for bed bugs before they are allowed inside. If you do find a donation that is infested, then bed bug extermination may allow you to salvage the item. Just make sure to keep it away from the house until it is treated.
Minimize Hiding Places
Although you want to set up a comfortable environment, you also want to create an unsuitable environment for bed bugs. Choose tile over carpeting for flooring, and select beds with metal frames that are less likely to have small cracks for bed bugs to hide inside. You can also paint bed frames white and choose light colors for the sheets, to make it easier to spot an early infestation.
When you have so many families living within close proximity to each other, you have an obligation to keep them safe from pests. By including bed bugs in your pest prevention plan, you can minimize infestations that interfere with your residents' opportunities for healing.